Piero Fornasetti was a regal and dapper peacock born in Milan, Italy in 1913. He was an artist and visionary who loved illusion and decoration. He collaborated with various architects and designers on everything from furniture to dishes.
Above left to right: Roman Foot umbrella stand, wallpaper, vintage umbrella stands, vintage and new lacquer trays, Adam (of Adam & Eve) plates—6 shown from a set of 12.
Mr. Fornasetti’s production of everyday objects and furniture is probably one of the largest of the 20th century—over 11,000 items.
Above left: Mr. Fornasetti standing in front of a wall of Themes & Variations plates. Start collecting the plates here.
Above right: Fornasetti wallpaper inspired by the wall of Julia plates. Order some here.
Most people are familiar with Mr. Fornasetti’s enigmatic face of Julia, part of his Themes & Variations series. He supposedly found this classic female face while glancing through a 19th century magazine and created 500 variations of her features on different everyday objects, including the eponymous plate.
Detour Design recently launched the first of three titles, of a limited edition animated collection (see sample above) interpreting Fornasetti's Themes & Variations. There are 7 tracks of purely visual animation that loop or play individually on your flat screen television. Each Blue-ray disc, in this edition of 3,000, comes in an elegant lacquer box with a hand numbered, engraved card. Buy one of these compelling animated artworks here.
Mr. Fornasetti was intrigued by various themes including: hands, nature, playing cards, man, woman, the moon and sun.
Above left to right: Magazine cover illustration, sun chair in white, sole fabric, sun cube, a sun chair in gold.
Above left to right: The printed word as a theme from the 1950's—table-cloth, napkins, plates, cutlery, even the flowers pretend to be newspaper, porcelain paperweights imitating hats made of newspaper.
Mr. Fornasetti created thousands of items including: lamps, screens, fabrics, pillows, plates and dishes, furniture, ashtrays, scarves, umbrella stands and many other objects.
Mr. Peacock prefers the original vintage Fornasetti items, however, there are many authentic licensed reproductions available too. Here are a few of Mr. Peacock’s favorites:
Mr. Fornasetti collaborated with Gio Ponti (another design genius) on decorating many furniture pieces. Mr. Peacock’s dream Fornasetti piece would be one of his Trumeau Chests—vintage or reproduction, it doesn’t matter! I love Fornasetti’s two-dimensional architectural interpretations on these three dimensional Ponti pieces! Buy one here.
This Fornasetti Rug and Tapestry (above left to right) would be brilliant in Mr. Peacock’s living room. More information here.
Art critic, Philippe Daverio, tours Piero Fornasetti’s Milan studio/apartment (originally designed in 1930) and chats with his son, gentleman peacock-Barnaba Fornasetti. The video is in Italian. Even if you don't understand Italian, this video tour offers a rare visual glimpse into the world of Fornasetti. Barnaba is perpetuating the Fornasetti workshop tradition, continuing the production and reviving the most popular pieces, creating new ones, renewing hand crafted production, in collaboration with industries which manufacture under license.
Above left to right: Decorative panel from the 1950's, a self portrait, a phallus drawing from a collection of around 100 from 1945.
Mr. Piero Fornesetti is a peacock icon of formidable talent who brought his dreams and creative genius through the design and decoration of everyday objects. There are numerous Fornasetti books available here. His timeless works of art are a celebration of fantasy, illusion, and the imagination. Thank you Piero Fornasetti!